Nearshore Americas
Panama Ricardo Martinelli

Two Martinelli Ministers Sentenced to Prison in Panama

A Panamanian court handed down prison sentences to two former ministers who served under the country’s former president, Ricardo Martinelli, convicting them of corruption and money laundering.

The pair currently enjoys immunity from prosecution, but Panama’s Supreme Court can overturn their immunity and enforce the sentences.

Judge Baloisa Marquínez issued eight convictions, including one for Federico Suárez, who served as Public Works Minister during Martinelli’s administration (2009-2014), and another for Jaime Ford, who was accused of accepting bribes on infrastructure projects.

Suárez was sentenced to 14 years in prison and ordered to pay a US$27.4 million fine. Ford received a six-and-a-half-year prison sentence and an US$11.4 million fine, according to the ruling issued Monday.

Despite campaigning on an anti-corruption platform, Martinelli’s administration became marred by scandals, with over a dozen of his cabinet ministers facing convictions for financial misappropriations.

Martinelli, who has announced his intention to run for president again in 2024, has seen his political future clouded by recent corruption charges and convictions. The United States barred him from entering the country, and a court recently sentenced two of his children to one-and-a-half-years in prison.

Sign up for our Nearshore Americas newsletter:

Martinelli’s family is also being charged of taking bribes from Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction firm that has admitted to paying bribes in exchange for contracts in several Latin American countries. Odebrecht’s scandal has been characterized by the US Department of Justice as “the largest bribery case in history.”

In July this year, Martinelli was sentenced to 10 years in prison in a separate money laundering case.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

Add comment